Girls' education and gender equality


This brief summarises evidence from Interventions to enhance girls’ education and gender equality: A rigorous review of literature by Unterhalter, E. et al (2014).

Key findings:
The evidence reviewed indicates the importance of a mix of combined interventions which work to change institutions. Evidence suggests the following interventions:

  • resource interventions to support girls' education (eg. conditional cash transfers or in-kind support) depend on careful targeting of students most unlikely to attend school. Complementary in-kind health interventions can enhance enrolment and may result in learning gains for girls and boys.
  • infra-structural interventions (eg.sanitation, school building) improve enrolment and potentially learning but more research is needed to show how.
  • interventions for institutional change require well trained teachers, gender equitable schools and administrators.
  • interventions to shift gender norms are under-researched. Girls' clubs, engaging faith communities, working with boys, and strategies to include marginalised women in decision-making appear promising.

The relationship between the expansion of girls' education, social change and empowerment is under-researched. A key finding concerns the importance of understanding contexts at local, national and global levels including the climate of support for girls' schooling, complementary legal, regulatory and security frameworks, state capacity to implement policy and engage in inclusive dialogue.


Anon. Girls’ education and gender equality. DFID, London, UK (2014) 11 pp.

Girls’ education and gender equality

Published 1 January 2014